Welcome back Dear Readers and Wrestling Fans! I hope you’ve been well since we last met and shared stories of Wrestlemania VI. It has definitely been too long.
I can not think of a better time to take a trip down memory lane and watch a classic Wrestlemania. As I write this, American wrestling fans are mere days away from the most anticipated and dreaded election day in our nation’s history. I know I am not alone when I say that my stomach hurts, my head hurts, and I am so. Effing. Ready. For this all to be over. Meanwhile, let’s distract ourselves with some early nineties wrestling!
**Sounds of someone turning on their television, then opening the WWE network and qeueing up Wrestlemania VII**
All right, let’s do this!
Wait. What in the world? WHAT IS THIS, A TRUMP RALLY??
Wrestlemania VII opens with the sound of drums. More specifically, marching band drums–WAR drums–before the cameras pan out over a huge crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena that was lavishly festooned with flags.
You read that right. The crowd itself was festooned with American Flags. Take a look at that picture again.
Hmmm. Maybe Wrestlemania VII wasn’t the perfect choice of a classic wrestling event to use to distract myself from current political drama, and if I had looked at the timing of it before I sat down to watch the PPV, I would have known. Wrestlemania VII was held in Los Angeles, California on March 24, 1991. That was less than one month after the end of the first Gulf War, and also less than one month after the Rodney King incident and ensuing riots. I was a high school freshman in 1991, and I remember it as a touchy time for America. I don’t remember that time being quite so flag-flying and jingoistic but maybe that’s because I lived in Northern California. Maybe Southern Californians in 1991 didn’t go anywhere without their flags and their fervent patriotism. Who knows?
Anyhow, I am committed to this blog series and to you, Dear Readers, and as we all know I LOVE pro wrestling, so despite my misgivings I went ahead and watched Wrestlemania VII. And you know what, despite the distressing lack of signs (which I promise is what this blog series really is all about) I am glad I did. I suggest you give it a watch (or another watch) if for no other reason than this was the ‘Mania in which The Undertaker started his famous and famously long Wrestlemania winning streak. Also, Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth reunited at Wrestlemania VII and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, unless you count Bobby Heenan who said Savage was making a mistake because he would rather have money than “some skirt.”
So, without any further ado, let’s get to the signs!!
aka The one with a thousand and one American flags
As a brief reminder, for this blog series I pick signs I see in the audience based on five categories: BEST overall sign, WORST overall sign, best non sequitur, most attractive sign and best wrestler-specific sign. I promise to always do my best, and I promise to fill each category, but because I am really just doing historical research and can not control the circumstance of these classic ‘Manias, I can not promise to choose and rank five individual, unique signs. In other words, I may nominate any one sign to fill more than one category if need be.
Got it? Good! Let’s get to the categories!
- Best wrestler-specific sign
Okay, this is a group of signs. But you really have to take it all together for the whole effect. Frankly, just watching this event after the fact, I’m not even sure if these fans were together, or intended for their signs to be read as a complete statement, but I’m telling myself it was intentional. Because isn’t that the perfect example of wrestling signs as fan communication? And in this picture, it seriously looks like Randy Savage is reading the signs, and having a moment with his fans. I love it.
- Most attractive sign
I can’t be sure, but this sign looks and moves like it’s actually made of fabric. I think someone may have stitched this together. WOW! That’s dedication.
- WORST overall sign
Honestly, I just don’t think this sign was well made. No offense or anything.
- Best non sequitur
No, this isn’t a wrestling sign. I apologize, but I didn’t see any signs in the crowd at Wrestlemania VII that fit this category. So, instead, I offer you this picture of The Undertaker measuring Regis Philbin for his coffin.
- BEST overall sign
This sign made me so happy for so many reasons. First, it’s a BILINGUAL wrestling sign. Second, it (conceivably) flew all the way to Los Angeles from Japan. And, although arguably not the most colorful or creative wrestling sign in the world, it is very well made. Bravo, sir. I applaud you.
And I’d like to offer a hearty “F you” to Bobby Heenan, who took the time to say “Well, he’s a big fortune cookie” when this sign and its maker appeared on screen. F you very much, Mr. Heenan.
The story lines going into Wrestlemania VII stood out for me for a couple of reasons, one good and one bad. Watching the event, I was appalled when the Rodney King incident was–quite cavalierly–used in a Big Boss Man promo. The promo itself was followed by a raucous and very fun match between Boss Man and Mr. Perfect. The match was for the Intercontinental Title and it was a BLAST. The audience was into it, I was into it. Big Boss Man was just manhandling Mr. Perfect.
But…was that the best thing to do, less than a month after the whole world watched a gang of cops beat on a helpless man? Have a good ole boy Southern cop character make fun of it and then beat the living hell out of someone in the ring? Yeesh.
Okay, so that was the not-so-great point I wanted to make about Wrestlemania VII. I also have some praise, though, and it’s about the feud between Sgt. Slaughter and Hogan. I think it was ballsy as hell for the WWE to have Sgt. Slaughter become a turncoat during the war. That’s GREAT drama and their main event match was superb.
I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me today, friends and wrestling fans! Have fun, take care of yourselves, and I will see you at Wrestlemania VII!
As always, I remain:
Your friend in wrestling fandom,
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